Lake Effect On-Site normally is about getting out into the community and taking a deep dive into a specific area of Milwaukee. But at a time when gathering together can be dangerous, there are still ways to celebrate the many things that our community has to offer.
So, the On-Site series moved off-site to celebrate one of our favorite holidays: Halloween.
Watch the full Lake Effect Off-Site: Halloween Edition below.
Andy Reid and Jamie Beauchamp mark the Halloween season by transforming their Bay View house on Clement Avenue and Idaho Street with elaborate decorations each year. This year’s theme is Ghostbusters and construction of the decorations began in August after months of pre-planning. They knew this year was going to be different due to the pandemic, so they made sure to include safety measures.
“The biggest one we have is the social distancing viewing spots that we have on the ground on the sidewalk all the way across the front of our property and, including the two properties on either side of us, they're at least 7 to 8 feet apart. And it shows people exactly where they can stand and be safe in comparison to somebody else that might be out there,” says Beauchamp.
For more novice decorators, Reid and Beauchamp both say it doesn’t take too much to get your house in the Halloween mood, but you need to keep the elements in mind.
“Wind is not your friend and water is not your friend,” says Beauchamp.
This means staking props into the ground and avoiding decorations like Styrofoam gravestones that won’t survive a rainstorm or a gust of wind. For Reid, lighting is where you turn your setup from good to great.
“Even just two lights can make a huge difference on your display,” says Reid.
To give back to the community, Reid and Beuchamp are using their display to raise money for Pathfinders in Milwaukee. You can donate directly to a drop box at their house or through the Pathfinders website.
Another pandemic safe Halloween tradition is haunted horror movie marathons. Even with the pandemic impacting what would have been a season of new thrilling releases. This year is a great time to revisit your favorite Halloween films. From the classics like Hocus Pocus, Little Shop Of Horrors or the Scream franchise. There are plenty of movies available to stream while you celebrate Halloween this year, safely at home.
Ryan Jay, Lake Effect's film contributor, says there are three main categories of quintessential Halloween movies.
“The first one would be a movie that’s actually about Halloween, where Halloween is part of the story in the film. The second thing would be horror movies, the sort of ones that we like to watch this time of season, 'the spooky season' as were referring to it now. And then also I would say the last would be movies that have spawned perennial Halloween costumes,” says Jay.
For Jay, he likes to be scared and there is one movie that will always have him struggling to fall asleep.
"You can count on some [movies] to always scare you and that's like The Exorcist. So, if I really want to be scared and have trouble falling asleep at night, I'll put that movie on," he says.
While watching scary movies, you might want to have a good drink nearby. Seasonal cocktails are an essential part of fall whether it’s a classic hot toddy or a Tom & Jerry.
Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge in Milwaukee is known for more than just the classics. It's famous for its handcrafted drinks that can warm Wisconsinites even on the coldest night. Bryant’s manager Dave Cornils says if folks are looking for a take on a classic, they can easily make at home, they should try a Black Manhattan.
- 2 oz. Rye Whiskey
- 1 oz. Amaro Averna
- 1 dash Angostura Bitters
- 1 dash Orange Bitters
This drink swaps out the usual Vermouth for Amaro Averna, which Cornils says makes the cocktail richer in flavor and slightly stronger.
“This is honestly, one of my personal favorites in the Manhattan adjacent cocktail realm, especially this time of year. I am a very seasonal drinker and so when the weather gets cold, I tend to gravitate towards the cocktails that seem right for this time of year,” says Cornils.
After enjoying a night of decorating, movies, drinks, and general Halloween frights, it may be time to end the day with Milwaukee-based jazz duo SistaStrings. They combine their classical training with more modern R&B and a touch of gospel to create their unique sound. With Chauntee Ross on violin and Monique Ross on cello, the sisters have been building a following since 2014.
SistaStrings would normally hold a special Halloween performance, but the pandemic has canceled all of their in-person shows. Now, pre-recorded videos with personalized music have become the norm. At the beginning of the pandemic, they even had to learn to play in separate houses and merge the recordings together to create their songs.
“Performance-wise and energy and emotions, I feel like we’ve been able to dig more internally and we’ve had some special moments where it has just been the two of us in a room recording, could be pre-recorded or live, where you still are able to feel the message that you’re giving,” says Monique Ross.
Chauntee Ross says, “It’s really been a growing experience being able to manage what’s being needed and there is still such a great love and support for the arts community I’m finding in Milwaukee."